Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chickpeas are a Powerful Uniting Force Against Religious Nationalism

This is my favorite story today:  a restaurant in Israel offering 50% off to Jewish and Arab patrons who eat together.

The Hummus Bar offers "And real excellent Arab hummus! And great Jewish falafel!" to bring people together.

It is working.


Mac said...

Breaking bread together is the best way to find other common ground. Perhaps this simple gesture could succeed and spread where arcane diplomacy has failed.

Gruntled said...

I suspect the people likely to take them up on this offer were not likely to be violent religious nationalists in the first place. But creating a climate of civility among the majority can help shrink the "sea" in which the brawlers, on both sides, can swim.

Mac said...

I suspect you are correct regarding the initial participants. Your (intentional? unintentional?) paraphrase of Mao in his classic On Guerilla Warfare is right on point. (“Many people think it impossible for guerrillas to exist for long in the enemy's rear. Such a belief reveals lack of comprehension of the relationship that should exist between the people and the troops. The former may be likened to water the latter to the fish who inhabit it.” On Guerilla Warfare (1937), ch 6 .)

As Ramon Magsaysay proved in the successful campaign against the Huks in the early 1950s , if you can shrink the sea enough, the fish you want to catch become more identifiable. In Magsaysay’s case, he cleaned up the corrupt Philippine Army, reined in the Philippine Constabulary, and made sure the local populace was treated fairly by government agencies. The sea dried up and the Hukbalahap Rebellion withered and died. In the current case, it may be that the exposed brawlers on both sides can be subjected to moral and political pressure to talk rather than kill and maim.

Gruntled said...

I hope so.